There are two fixes when teams can’t influence their Key Results because they are out of reach:
- Expanding their Sphere of Influence through shared OKRs
- Shrinking the out-of-reach KR into their Sphere of influence
This newsletter is about the latter.
Let’s look at a large e-commerce product:
One of the company-level KRs is to “Increase the conversion rate from homepage to completed confirmation by 7%.”
Between the homepage and the purchase confirmation page, the “ideal” user journey might consist of five steps: searching for a product, viewing a product detail page, adding the product to the cart, starting the checkout, and completing the checkout.
For every team responsible for site sections along the journey, setting up their KRs with tiny contributions to the overall +7% might be the obvious choice. For example, the checkout team might want to contribute 3% since they are the closest to the final purchase.
But that’s a loser’s game since the general conversion rate increase depends on more than “just” what’s within the zone of control or even the sphere of influence of this (or any individual) team. No matter how you slice it, the overarching KR will always only remain within the area of contribution for any particular team–rendering any broken down KRs of that metric pointless since the team can’t use it to measure THEIR progress.
Instead, the checkout team needs to shrink the company metric by reinterpreting the intention expressed through the KR along their zone of control and sphere of influence.
For example, they can INFLUENCE the time spent on the checkout page, the payment validation error rate, or the conversion rate from checkout started to complete.
They can also CONTROL the number of mandatory address fields shown, the payment methods offered, or the checkout’s loading time.
Let’s assemble the pieces:
The Area of Contribution consists, among others, of the Impact Metric: “Increase the conversion rate from homepage to completed confirmation by 7%.”
Within their Sphere of Influence are Outcome Metrics, such as “Reduce time spent to complete address and payment details by 13%.”
Within their Zone of Control are Output Metrics like “90% of all requested payment methods are available in all markets.”
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